Mets-Braves Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 15, 2012
David Wright is off to a sensational start and played a big role in the New York Mets' season-opening three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. His fast start, however, could come to a halt with a trip to Atlanta. Wright hopes to put an end to his struggles at Turner Field on Monday night when the Mets open a three-game set against a Braves team seeking its sixth straight win. Coming off an injury-plagued 2011 in which he hit a career-low .254, Wright is batting .571 with two home runs and five RBIs in six games for New York (6-3). A broken pinkie forced the All-Star third baseman to miss three games last week and had some wondering how he would play upon returning, but Wright has squelched those concerns by going 5 for 9 with a homer in the last two games. Sunday's 8-2 loss to Philadelphia was the Mets' first defeat with him in the lineup. Wright drove in a run in each game of the sweep over the Braves (5-4) from April 5-8, including a sixth-inning RBI single off Tommy Hanson - scheduled to start Monday - in a 1-0 opening-day victory. Despite getting that big hit, Wright is batting .150 with eight strikeouts in 20 career at-bats against Hanson (1-1, 2.70 ERA). Wright has experienced similar problems hitting in the Braves' ballpark. His .250 batting average at Turner Field is his lowest at any current NL park. He hit .115 with 19 strikeouts in 15 games there over the past two seasons, though three of his seven hits were homers. Atlanta's star third baseman is also off to a strong start. Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer in Sunday's 7-4 win over Milwaukee, Atlanta's fifth victory in a row after opening 0-4. "We're right back where we need to be," Brian McCann told the Braves' official website. "We just need to keep winning." Atlanta has won all three games Jones has played as he's hit .417 with two home runs and five RBIs. The 18-year veteran, who has announced this will be his final season, missed the first four games while recovering from knee surgery and was out for the first two contests of the Brewers series. "It's just huge having him out there," said Brandon Beachy, Sunday's winning pitcher. Jones hit .302 with four homers, four doubles and 16 RBIs in 16 games against the Mets last season, but he's 1 for 8 lifetime against scheduled starter Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.06). Gee gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 home loss to Washington on Tuesday in his season debut. Although Gee led the Mets with 13 wins last season, his 5.74 road ERA was the second-worst in the NL among pitchers who threw at least 75 innings. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in three starts in Atlanta last season, and New York won them all even though he lasted just 15 innings. Hanson was the tough-luck loser at Citi Field on April 5, giving up a run and four hits in five innings. It was his third straight defeat to the Mets after going 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his first five starts against them. Hanson followed his outing against New York by giving up two runs and six hits while striking out eight in five innings in Tuesday's 6-4 win over Houston. His 2.43 April ERA since 2010 is the seventh-best in baseball.
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